Today when I opened PatnaDaily after a lapse of sometime I never expected to see this - Oh my God – I am stunned and don’t have words for it – Ms Papiya Ghosh certainly did not deserve this –the Nitish Government must do something to find the culprits. It will be a shame if he fails in this task. Law and order in Bihar has gone to the gutters anyway refusing to bury its ugly head but Papiya Ghosh will be one of its casualties was unthinkable. Bihar being synonymous with anarchy has never seemed so true.
Ms Ghosh’s integrity and reputation as a teacher of history was exemplary – I remember at a time when we were still being taught in traditional ways with yellowing age old notes, from books that were written in historical times limiting our ability to question, Ms Ghosh introduced us to the wider world teaching us to research in new ways, refer to new publications, query traditional views on Modern Indian History and most of all respond to them in an innovative manner. It was HER teaching of Modern Indian History – I still think that made me ready for greater challenges in Universities/world outside my comfort zone of Patna.
"Simple living, high thinking" sounds so clichéd but in her case it was true in every sense. Oh, as students, how we idolised her for her intellect and how well she combined it with her simplicity - I admired her as one of the true intellectuals of modern Bihar. She was such a popular student of St Joseph's known for debating skills in the sane old days when Patna was the intellectual capital and not the crime capital.
In my view, she was the history Teacher with a difference – for good reasons of course that we had in our College days. Her knowledge, the lectures, her impeccable English, her commitment to work and the humility with which she performed her task - cannot be praised enough. She was also a stickler for time – her three words as she entered the classroom dot on time “bolt the door” before she started the lectures is resounding in my mind. Even now, I would imitate her when I would ask others to close the doors behind them! She had excellent opportunities outside Bihar but she chose to stay there and she was one of those role models who had travelled and studied around the world but always came back to her place of birth. It is a travesty of justice that that the same place has let her down so badly. She was a good soul and will rest in peace but the killers who did this despicable act should never ever be allowed to go scot free by the Nitish Government – it is a challenge for him. Having some understanding of the crime scene there, one has to be a complete idiot to believe that it was a simple case of robbery.
Ms Papiya Ghosh was one of the few shining lights in that decadent atmosphere of Bihar – Alas that light has gone so violently and so frivolously! Through PatnaDaily, her former student who would admired her immensely would like to convey her heartfelt condolences to Ms Ghosh’s friends, family and the academia of Patna University.
Padmaja - Dec. 5, 2006